*Update: Google Adsense has deemed this entire website to be “lewd and sexual” because of this article and has rejected any ad placement.
Recently, via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, a campaign called Free the Nipple has galvanized a gender equality movement that is taking the internet by storm and generating many publicity stunts, peaceful protests, and court cases challenging city and state laws on the matter. The campaign released a feature length theatrical/documentary style film on December 12th by the same title.
The reason for Dauntless Dialogue’s interest in this topic is threefold – firstly, this gives us a Polaroid of the contemporary Westerner’s emotional and psychological profile. Secondly, this topic is a Trojan horse to discuss gender equality and sexism as it stands today. Thirdly, this subject is symptomatic of the demonization of nature.
We All Have Nipples… Why Censor Something Harmless?
While men and women vary anatomically and physiologically in many ways including hormonal, biochemical, nutritional, cognitive, and muscular differences, we both share virtually the same outward appearance… excepting our nether regions. However, men and women have in common the presence of two areolas, or nipples. So, why has one been shamed, censored, and sexually connotated and the other is as normal to our culture as bare feet?
Free the Nipple
Lina Esco, founder of Free the Nipple, asserts that the movement does not advocate women being bare-chested at all times, its goal is simply to change public perception of women’s bodies and to highlight the blatant gender inequality.
The movement points out everyday occasions that a woman might casually remove her top such as sunbathing at the beach, in the park, or in her own backyard, breastfeeding her child, to cool down in extreme heat, or simply to change from one shirt into another.
It’s not about whether a woman should or should not; it is about whether she has the right to choose. It’s about sexual suppression in our culture, conditioning women of all ages that their bodies are shameful, and training men to objectify women by only using the female figure to sell products.
Nudity Versus Sexuality
Female nudity is, of course, not the subject at hand. The female body is splashed all over every billboard and television screen in the West. Those who have a problem with female nudity in all likelihood actually have a problem with the perversion, pervasiveness, and abuse of female sexuality. A line from the film’s trailer says, “Our sexuality has been taken away from us and is essentially being sold back to us.”
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), studies show that,
The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Television programs display 812 violent acts per hour; children’s programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly.
All of this violence is permitted to litter our children’s minds and continue to be consumed by adults as well, and yet a nipple is obscene and offensive enough warrant censorship? Right.
Men’s Chests Considered Illegal and Taboo Until 1936
For American men of the 1930s, going shirtless in public was as shocking a sight as it is for women today. It was not until 4 men defiantly strutted through Coney Island bare-chested to bring attention to the issue that public opinion quickly shifted. The men were fined $1 each for public indecency.
GoTopless.org/timeline provides an interactive and educational timeline complete with pictures, names, and dates on the history of public nudity.
Female Breasts Still Outlawed in 35 States, Not a Single Law Penalizes Men
Currently, it is illegal for women to be topless in public in 35 states, and in 5 of those states women are not allowed to breastfeed their babies in public. There is not a single law on the books in America prohibiting men from removing their shirts in public.
In cities like Rochester, NY, the first city where laws were officially changed in 1986 allowing women to bare their chests in public, it is still almost impossible for a woman to do so without being arrested (before eventually being released) because police are ignorant of the law. One cannot overlook the irony that police insist “ignorance of the law is not an excuse” when dealing with citizens and prosecute regardless.
Lina Esco, founder of Free the Nipple Campaign, says “According to statute 245.01 per the Appeals Court of The State/City of New York, it is completely legal for a woman or a man to opt not to wear a shirt (or bra) in public.”
The Origins of Anti-Nude Values in America
Up until the 1900s, Native American tribes did not teach Puritanical values to their children and summer attire often meant top-free men and women. It was not until Christian missionaries spread these values and taught women to be ashamed of their bodies that laws began to govern one’s sovereignty over his or her clothing option. Calvinism slammed both men and women for breaches to its hyper-conservative rules which went as far as to say that sexuality should not be explored or enjoyed; rather, it should be used only to make children and should be absent of any emotions that would not leave room for God. Europeans were well into their centuries-long indoctrination of sexual repression. This was one of the many gifts brought over to North America, along with slavery and disease.
Of course, in ancient times, there was no word for nudity because it was more common to be naked than it was to be clothed. Nudity had no connotation with sex.
The Demonization of Nature
Sexual suppression is not the cause of gender inequality today; it is symptomatic of a philosophical blunder plaguing our psyche. Religion and scientism are both culpable in the declaration of war on nature.
Staunch religion places man outside of and above nature. We are at the top of the hierarchy and the flora and fauna are here at our disposal. St. Francis of Assisi’s message that nature and man are created equal and in unison was widely misinterpreted and ignored. Staunch scientism removes consciousness from the equation leaving both man and nature as vapid soulless objects to examine under a microscope and genetically reengineer.
The Only Solution
For anyone paying attention, sexual suppression is a direct result of this core philosophical derangement. Man is nature, not outside or above it. And for anyone who cares, we must correct this perception within each of us individually by remembering that our essence is nature and by realizing our interconnectedness with all matter, all phenomena, and all life. For, it is only when we break the shackles of collectivist norms that we can experience the freedom of following our natural urges.
This is the common denominator with any social upgrade, be it racial, gender, sexual orientation, or social class. When we conform to the arbitrarily imposed social laws that enslave us from something as natural as our own bodies, we commit psychic suicide and unleash the beast of repression and all of its grotesque manifestations.
UPDATE: Jan. 14th, 2014
A Dauntless Dialogue reader sent us the following image stating that Facebook removed a link to this article that he shared on his wall. Facebook also suspended his account for 3 days. It is well established that Facebook routinely engages in all sorts of censorship of free speech. At the time of this writing, this article has been shared over 131,000 times on Facebook alone.
Click to enlarge image.